Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, said President Saakashvili should restore billionaire philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian citizenship, which he has lost following his announcement about going into politics last month.
“There is much talk about whether Bidzina Ivanishvili should have or not the Georgian citizenship. Of course he should have it, because he is Georgian. I think that each Georgian whether born in Georgia or not, who is Georgian with flesh and spirit should be a Georgian citizen,” Ilia II said during his Sunday sermon at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
“I am very concerned that this simple issue caused so much argument, undesirable argument. I am sure, that our President will take it into consideration and grant him the citizenship,” the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church said.
About 2.5% of Ivanishvili’s GEL 1.49 billion (about USD 901.8 million) broad-range of charitable donations in a period of 2005-2010 went on financing restoration of hundreds of churches and frescos. Of GEL 38 million, which was donated to 504 such projects in that period of time, at least GEL 10 million was contributed to the construction of the country’s main and the largest cathedral of Holy Trinity in Tbilisi.